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You thought you knew who you were, but now you find yourself thinking and doing things that are not like you. Learn about your identity and how it can change when at university.
Your identity describes who you are. Some descriptions are simple and don't change much, such as those that appear on a passport, driver's licence, or enrolment record. Other descriptions are more complex and change as you grow and learn. We try to use words to describe who we are; words like determined, forgiving, empathic, driven, vulnerable, optimistic, creative, concerned, logical, and many others. These words describe what you think and feel about yourself and others, how you live your life, and what you value.
Your identity changes over your lifetime in response to the experiences you have as you grow up. The experiences you have at university can also change who you want to be. There may be changes in what kind of professional you want to be, how you express yourself emotionally and sexually in relationships. Your opinions change as you read and understand more about the world. If you have just left school, you no longer have bells and teachers to rule your day, being with a partner is becoming important, the ideas you are learning, and other students on campus are challenging your values and ideals. If you have come from another culture, living in Australia may change some of your opinions, lifestyles, and values.
Although the changes you experience whilst at university can be exciting, they can also cause confusion, self doubt, and perhaps even bring you into conflict with family and friends. Going from being a 'big fish in a small pond' at school, to a 'small fish in a big pond', or a 'relaxed fish in a familiar pond' to a 'new fish in a strange pond' at university can feel quite overwhelming.
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